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Mayor Adams Warns ‘Rabble Rousers’ Ahead of Trump Court Circus in Manhattan

While there are no specific or credible threats, according to the police commissioner, the city is preparing for the worst — and so are some vendors who work outside of the courthouse.

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Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell speak about security preparations for former President Donald Trump’s arraignment, April 3, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Mohamed Khalaf has operated a coffee cart outside 60 Centre Street for six years, setting up in the wee hours to begin business every weekday morning. But he’s staying at his home in Jackson Heights on Tuesday, even though that will cost him. 

“Tomorrow’s going to be closed — four blocks here, four blocks there, it won’t be easy,” Khalaf said of the chaos and crowds that could descend on Lower Manhattan ahead of former President Donald Trump’s expected arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

He expects to forego around $500 in net income, while still paying for renting and storing his cart. 

“I’m going to lose my day,” he told THE CITY Monday.

More than 30 counts are expected to be unsealed when the president is formally arraigned on Tuesday, according to The New York Times. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has declined to detail the charges until then. 

No former president has ever been criminally charged after leaving office. Trump announced in November that he will again seek the Republican nomination for president — this case is expected to drag on for months and have major political ramifications on the 2024 race.

‘Best Behavior’

At a press briefing at City Hall on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams and top officials warned of rolling road closures starting Monday afternoon, when Trump is expected to arrive in New York through LaGuardia Airport.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said while there were no “credible or specific threats” to the city, the department was prepared for protests and large crowds. 

“Our job is to facilitate and safeguard the rights of people to express themselves and those going about their daily activities,” Sewell said.

Adams had one message for “rabble rousers” seeking to protest. 

“Control yourselves,” he said. “New York City is our home, not a playground for your misplaced anger.”

Court officers guard the outside of Manhattan Criminal Court, April 3, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The mayor also warned U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia and fervid Trump supporter, to “be on your best behavior.” Greene has planned a rally on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in support of the former president at Collect Pond Park across the street from the court. 

A spokesperson for the mayor said that Greene did not file a permit for the protest, which is not required if there aren’t any loudspeakers or a stage. 

New York County Family Court, also located across the street, is scheduled to remain open all day, according to Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the Office of Court Administration. 

Asked about the city’s “gun-free zones,” Sewell said it’s a class E felony to carry firearms in courthouses, federal buildings, and during  “any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional right to protest or assemble.”

“I think responsible gun ownership requires you know what the laws are where you are protesting and we expect everyone to adhere to ours,” she said. 

The entire criminal courthouse is expected to be almost totally cleared out starting around noon, according to a law enforcement source briefed on the plan. 

As a result, city jail officers plan to send fewer detainees to court in the morning, said a top Department of Correction official who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

The department typically “produces” 100 to 120 detainees to the Manhattan court each day, the jail official said. Court administration officials haven’t detailed exactly how much they want to reduce the number of people coming to court on Tuesday. 

The city clerk’s office, just blocks away on the corner of Worth and Centre streets, is still taking appointments for marriage ceremonies, certificates and domestic partnerships all day Tuesday, according to its website. 

Braulio Cuenca, who has photographed weddings at the building for 14 years, still planned on setting up on the steps on Tuesday.

“I’ll come early and if it’s too many reporters, protestors, I’ll go,” Cuenca said.

‘I Move, No Problem’

The city has not mapped out which blocks will be open or closed tomorrow, and some vendors were determined to be there as usual. 

Md. Alam, who operates a hot dog stand in front of 60 Centre Street, just a few feet from Mr. Khalaf’s coffee cart, told THE CITY that he would be at his spot, no matter what.

“I’m gonna be there,” Alam said in Bengali.

Md. Alam intends to operate his hot dog stand no matter what happens during Trump’s arraignment, April 3, 2023.

Katie Honan/THE CITY

Kohinoor Begum has a small hot dog cart on the corner of Worth and Centre streets, where she’s been for 15 years.

Begum still plans to travel by subway from her home in Astoria to the garage on Madison Street tomorrow morning and try to walk the cart to her corner — even though the police warned her against it, she said. 

“If I don’t come, I don’t make money,” she said. She can usually bring in anywhere between $50 and $100 a day.

Further up Centre Street, Md. Mojumder had already been forced to move his hot dog cart from directly in front of the criminal courthouse to a spot across the street two weeks ago. 

Mojumder also planned to return Tuesday morning, traveling by train and a bus from his home in Montclair, New Jersey, to pick up his cart and head to his spot. He can make anywhere from $100 to $300 a day, he said.

“If police tell me to move, I move, no problem,” he said. If it came to that, he planned to keep pushing it up Centre Street until it was safe.

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